Hello Gabbers, and welcome to another weekly installment of Storminnorman's Sports Blog. Let me start by saying it was a crazy week in both College Football and Major League Baseball, with heavy favorites such as Alabama, Texas A & M, Tigers and Angels all falling in their respective games and series.
Seriously folks outside of Baltimore and Kansas City, who would have thought these two teams would be meeting for the to face the National League in the World Series? Honestly, the Tigers didn't deserve to win their series, their bully basically choked and was pitching batting practice to the Orioles hitters. Dombrowski made a pretty good move by acquiring Soria, but for some reason it just didn't work in this series.
I made the comment to a few of my friends at work after the series was over, and I mentioned to one of them how poorly Brad Ausmus managed Game 1 and 2. His moves during those two games reminded me of Jim Leyland, he pulled Scherzer after 98 pitches and the bully proceeded to give up 8. Verlander being pulled in the 6th was okay, because he was getting his ass rocked that day and didn't seem like himself. Ausmus went to the well once to often with Soria, Chamberlain and Choke-Zero, and he got burned. Maybe Dombrowski will get the hint this offseason, and sign a few free agent relief pitchers.....
But let's give the Royals and Orioles their dues, they outplayed and outpitched the Tigers and Angels during their series, and deserve to be playing each other in the ALCS. Good luck to both teams, it should be an interesting series.
In the National League, I really thought the Dodgers and Nationals had a legitimate chance of facing each other in the NLCS. Great pitching, great hitters and poof just like that the Cardinals and Giants disposed of them like we do our trash on a weekly basis. Hell if hadn't been of ex-Tiger Doug Fister and Ryu, both teams would have been swept. Who would have thought Kershaw would have blown up twice in the same series? Bet you Dombrowski is kicking himself for trading Fister, the Tigers sure could have used him this year....
Thursday night begins another season for the Detroit Red Wings, as they face off against Sully's Bruins. With the apparent youth movement in Detroit (mostly because Mr. I is spending it on the Tigers), this year could be the year the streak finally ends. I would like to see it continue, but they will be leaning on a Sheehan, Tatar, Nyquist and others to move the streak to 24. With Datsuyk starting out injured, even though he should be back really soon. The first few weeks will be rather interesting to say the least.....
I would have loved to have said something good about the Lions this week, but after Henery looking like Nate Freese last week missing 3 field goals which cost them the game, and the Lions playing to the Bills level, loving that Lions defense still. I have been considering playing Teddy Bridgewater this week......
How can a team look like Super Bowl contenders one week, and then revert back to themselves the next? Oh wait, I am talking about the Lions. Couldn't score another touchdown, and looked like a really bad high school team offensively. Oh wait, I am talking about the Lions. I guess you get were I am going with this........
Well that's all I have for the week, don't forget to turn left and give a shout out to Hal....
I remember the first time the Yanks-Red Sox faced off on a Thursday night, Frag's came on Facebook with a picture of Pineda having some type of substance on his hand which had everyone livid in the booth and around MLB. Guess he was right, Pineda was cheating. Since I normally give everyone the benefit of the doubt, I was giving Pineda a second chance to see if he was playing by the rules. I don't know if many of you remember, Gaylord Perry used Vaseline under the bill of his cap for his spitter, until he caught. Was it Phil or Joe Niekro that got caught with a fingernail file inside their glove? 10 games kind of fits the crime, but the pine tar kind of explains the 1.00 era. Nice call Frags, you do have an eagle eye. Not taking Pineda's side, but it makes sense to use a substance that blends in with the color of your skin and pine tar worked for him up until last night.
So taking this into consideration, every pitcher or player in all sports try to gain an advantage over their opponent in some sort of way. The difference is, Pineda got caught because they were watching him after his previous start versus the Red Sox. He was an absolute fool to think he was going to get away with it a second time, the umpires watch MLB Network and ESPN, and if Pineda missed that, then he deserved to be suspended....
I want to tip my hat to Sully's B's, as they are playing the perfect series against the Red Wings. I know that the series is just in game 4, but if I was Ken Holland, I would consider finding some bigger players over the summer months through free agency, that can go into the corners and bang with the larger teams in the Eastern Conference. If they somehow survive this series and move on, my theory will come into play even more. It would only make sense to change the style of play to fit your conference, the Euro-Style worked for a long time in the Western Conference until the teams got bigger. As they have gotten younger, the players on their team might be faster, but a few good body checks in the corners seem to be taking the steam out of their legs against the Bruins.
I was absolutely amazed in how fast Montreal eliminated Tampa Bay in their series, even with the games being as close as they were, who would have thought it would have only taken 4 games....
I have not got to watch much of the Rangers-Flyers series (sorry Beeze), because it has been shown on MSNBC instead of the regular networks for whatever reason. I know in the brief period of time that I have been able to, the Rangers look good for a moment or two and then seem to self-destruct for a few, and then find a way to win.
I have been able to watch a little of the Blues-Blackhawks series, and all I have to say is that no matter what Brent Seabrook had to say about his hit on David Backus, it was a dirty cheap shot on a defenseless player in the corner. He took out the Blackhawks main nemesis, and deserved his 3 game suspension.
I will admit that I have not watched much of the Dallas-Anaheim or Avalanche-Wild series, not because I am not interested in the outcome, they have just been on too late with my daughter having to get up so early for school. Where does Ryan Getzlaff get off by starting a brawl in a game with a face shield? I realize he has 54 stitches in his face at the moment, and he was protecting his line mate Corey Perry. Hey does anyone remember this?
Doubt I will see this against the Bruins, would not be a very wise decision on Pavel's behalf...
Finally onto the Lions, set to open the season on Monday Night Football against the Giants. Should be interesting, as well as the schedule. Some key notes from their schedule, is they will be playing in London as one of their home games. The Bears on Thanksgiving after a trip to the normally playoff bound Patriots the week before. I am pretty sure that Tom Brady remembers last year in Detroit (even though it was pre-season), and I feel sorry for the Lions because unless some defensive changes are made, he will pick them apart. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are on the schedule, and who the hell wants to play the Packers Week 18 on December 28th in Green Bay? The NFL schedule makers just couldn't schedule the Packers earlier in the season, and allow the Lions to play them at home that day. Sure hope their playoff lives don't depend on beating them that day.....
The Seahawks-Packers game could be played on a neutral field that day, and that game would be good.
Well that's all I have for the week, please feel free to stop by and leave your comments...
You know, daylight savings time eventually has positives. Just not on day 1. I had a great day 1 - feeling a touch out of sorts, an hour behind the clock, but was damn productive. Until about 2 PM...fell asleep on the couch for a couple hours. Nothing like losing an hour sleep to mess you up.
It dawned on me that I haven't watched a full sporting event since the Super Bowl, so I clicked around the channels and found a Pirates/Red Sox game...in the 8th inning. It was good to catch a little ball - even if it was just an inning or so. Between daylight savings and spring training, it's not very hard to imagine this long winter of discontent being over. Just kind of hard to find much passion in the doldrums between the end of football and the start of baseball.
You know, I'm still trying to figure out how you can just lose a jumbo airliner.
Detroit Lions. William Clay Ford passed away Sunday. 88 years old and bought the Lions some 50 years ago. He was an NFL owner at 38. Kinda makes you feel a bit like a loser, doesn't it? I mean it's not bad enough when you see these cats that are 38 and head coaches, but an owner? That stings just a bit. I'm sure it stings more that in that time they won not only no super bowls, but really only one playoff game in that time...22 years ago. They also became the lone 0-16 team in history. That stings too, because by most accounts Ford was a passionate football man who loved the game.
Boston University Womens’ Basketball. Kelly Greenberg, the head coach of the Boston University women's basketball team is facing allegations of bullying her players. A most inconvenient time for this given she's in the final year of her contract. She went 13-20 this year.
4 of her players have walked away from the team - and 2 of them leaving $60,000 scholarships - citing emotional abuse leading to suicidal ideation and ruining their passion for the game. One kid walking away from a scholarship is one thing, but when you have 4 there's a lot of smoke to investigate.
Now, you could say its contagion, but there's a history. 7 years ago she faced similar allegations. What's curious to me is that she was retained then and since. So, she's faced these allegations in the past and kept her job. Did the school really not think this would surface again?
A quick read suggests she's tough and probably overly personal. Not everyone can handle that. So the question is whether she's just hardcore or abusive.
Booz Allen Hamilton. The consulting company known for crunching all kinds of data, is sticking its toe in the water of sports analytics. Everything from cost effectively fielding the best team, to predicting injuries. It doesn't even look like they know how it's going to work, but what is clear is that they smell money - they're just not sure how much or under which rock.
Of course what I find surprising is that it's taken this long for someone to decide it can and should be done. And let's face it - what goes better with sports than Booz?
My boy has taken to watching YouTube videos of these losers playing "Minecraft." So as I watched the new found daylight hours tick away, realizing I had to write this, I took to my phone. I wrote this entire article on my phone. No mean feat that. But it may mean I'll need glasses when I wake up.
Ding Dong, the Schwartz is gone. After 5 years of coaching the Lions, one playoff appearance, and failing miserably as I sat and watched the Lions go 1-6, when all they had to do was win 2 games to win the NFC North in 2013. Schwartz finally takes the bullet for the underachieving Lions. Along with all the other names that took the bullet for their teams, Shanahan, Schiano, Frazier and Chyzinkski all get the ax, and in typical Ford fashion, Bill Ford fires another coach as owner of the Lions. Not that Schwartz was a bad coach, because as like the other three, he was given enough talent to work with, he could not get the players to reach their full potential. I don't blame Schwartz for their epic meltdown that cost him his job, as I do the players who made numerous mistakes and took foolish penalties that were not seen during their 6-3 start.
What happened to holding the players accountable for their job performance, as were are held daily at our jobs? Each player from Stafford to Akers should take a good hard look at themselves during the offseason, and realize they not so much Schwartz (flipping off a fan), were responsible for him failing as head coach, not Schwartz. Their inconsistent play over the past 5 years, Suh taking foolish penalties, and Matt Stafford throwing interceptions led to his demise. So the search for a new head coach begins, a ritual that has grown rather old for me as a Lions fan, but that is how it normally goes in Detroit, for all teams except the Red Wings, who are the only team not to fire a coach in the past 10 years.
For the Gabbers who's team made the playoffs, Good luck to your teams, may your teams reach the success that you are hoping for them (winning a super bowl), as I watch another year of playoff football without my Lions. I guess I should be used to mediocrity, because the Lions have basically sucked for a good portion of my life, but they weren't 0-16 this season, just a real unacceptable 7-9.
Bengals-Chargers: I really like this game because it could go either way, my heart says that Phillip Rivers will show up and win their wild card game at Cincinnati, even if no one outside of myself wants to believe it's possible. A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, will have a say in determining the outcome of this game, however, Chargers 24-Cinci 17. Dalton's inexperience will play a big role in their demise, as he will be picked off 3 times, leading to all of the Chargers points.
Chiefs-Colts: This game should be one of the better games of the weekend, Alex Smith and Andrew Luck pitching the ball all over in Indy. The outcome in this game will be determined by which defense decides to show up, for which I believe the Colt's D will, Colts 31 - Chiefs 21.
Saints - Eagles: The outcome of this game will depend on which Drew Brees shows up in Philadelphia Saturday night, I know Foles, who thankfully rescued the Eagles from Michael Vick, will be ready along with their defense. If Brees shows up Saints win 35-17, if not another disappointing season for the Saints.
49ers - Packers: One question, how the hell did Green Bay get to host San Francisco when the Niners have a better record and beat them earlier this year? Did they blow up Candlestick right after the game? Anyway, this game is rather interesting now that Aaron Rogers is back, but truth be told, I believe the Niners win again in a defensive struggle 17-14.
Reality is this: The NFC is going to struggle to win a Super Bowl this year, the AFC mainly Denver and New England are poised yet to win another Super Bowl. I really don't see outside of San Francisco, a team from the NFC winning this year. I haven't bought into the Seahawks or Panthers being contenders for the crown, too young and even though their defenses are stellar, not enough offense to compete with Manning or Brady.
I would have normally written about the Rose Bowl, but I just can't bring myself to writing about the Spartans. In fact, I hope Stanford kicks their ass so all those goody two shoes in Spartan land goes home with their tails between their legs.
Does anyone outside of B.O.B care about the National Championship game?
Thanks to Sully for the invite, and Old Harry for visiting his family. I wish to all a very safe, happy and successful new year.....
The NFL enters week 17 with lots of great story lines...this is a good weekend to fire up that wing recipe or better yet, The Beez's Championship Chili. Let's take a look at a few of these juicy games on the Sunday calendar...
1. The Redskins wrap up their miserable season against the Giants at 1:00. At 4:30, every sportswriter in town expects Mike Shanahan to be taking his iPad and leaving his office for the last time. I don't think Shanny got a very fair deal this year and I, unlike the vultures circling over Mike's office, would not mind seeing him come back. For one thing, it would give him - FINALLY - a chance to build his team unfettered by the owner, the salary cap penalty and RGIII's petulance. I guess we shall see where this goes - one can only hope that whoever coaches the team next year that the process includes a real GM.
2. Early game #2 of interest - Cincinnati can put the defending champs out of their misery. The Ravens played as bad as they can possibly play last week and do not deserve the 6th seed...yet Champions always seem to know when they have to deliver. The Bengals are solid and I have no doubt that they would take no greater pleasure than to put the Ravens out to pasture...and fullfill another year of the Super Bowl Curse.
3. Early game #3 of interest - at least here...is the end of the Schwartz era for the Lions. Enoromous talent unfullfilled in the Motor City this year. Really, how hard is to get it to the best receiver in football? The guy is unstoppable. I feel for Lion fans...never a Super Bowl...50 years without a championship. As they say in Chicago for Cubs, there's always next year.
And for the Late Games...
1. Late Game Combo #1: Denver - Oakland & New England - Buffalo. The NFL potentially did me a big favor by moving the NE game to 4:15, which keeps Peyton Manning on the field at least until halftime. As one with Manning as my fantasy QB in my championship game, a NE loss at 1:00 would have meant no QB to play for me, so thank you commisioner's office. A NE win / Denver loss means that Mannings worst nightmare would potentially come true...another AFC title game in New England.
2. Late Game Combo #2: San Fran - Arizona & Seattle - St. Louis (+ NO - TB). First of all, the slightly slumping Seahawks could easily see their whole season unravel with a bad game against St. Louis. A Seattle loss and a SF win gives the 49ers the NFC title and seizes home field advantage away from Seattle...and let's face it, the Seahawks are a very different team away from their home field. Now if Arizona wins and NO loses, my Team of Destiny is out. If NO and Arizona both win, an 11 win team is OUT of the playoffs!
3. Late Game #3: Green Bay & Bears. There are a lot of interesting angles to this game...Rodgers is in risking his collar bone situation. Jay Cutler has really not looked that great since coming back and the Bears were cruising with McCown. It has big ramifications to the Bear's future since Cutler is in line for a contract next year...is he the guy for the Bears? Eddie Lacy has been huge for the Pack this year (& for me fantasy wise) so I am hoping for a big day from him. This game is going to be great!.
4. Late Game #4: Cowboys & Eagles. What a nice finale for the regular season even if the NFC East stinks. No Romo so Dallas will not be able to blame another end of game meltdown on their long running QB. As for the Eagles, they have really surprised this year running an offense that has been hard for some teams to manage. They could make some noise in the playoffs. Oddly enough, I think the edge goes to the Cowboys for this game...Orton could do enough not to lose. Dallas should be running the ball more anyway.
So, thank goodness for the Red Zone, because there is no other way to manage the football for the day. I am stocking up on beer, ordering a couple of pizza's and firing up the chili pot. It is going to be a fun day of football!